Art Miami '06
If Heaven existed, it would probably be slightly different from Miami. Though it is said that this is Heaven’s waiting room for many retirees. Yet with rests of fallen trees, some turned off neons and millions in debts waiting to be paid, this paradise was still trying to recover, last 5th of January, from the last hurricanes: Wilma which devastated southern Florida with a storm force of more than 150 km/h, and Art Basel Miami Beach which seemed to have partly emptied the safes from many collectors.
But at the 16th edition of the Art Miami
, a large number of collectors nevertheless crowded the Convention Centre on the occasion of the opening and the following days of the fair.
Some major collectors, like Rubell, Marguelies or Ella Cisneros, whether they bought anything in the end or not, brightened the agendas of many exhibitors, just by their visits. But particularly the numerous small acquisitions of local and Latin-American buyers made this edition one of the most successful according to the Director, Ilana Vardy.
126 galleries from over 25 countries presented a selection of high-quality-artists. Apart from the abundant presence of Latin-American artists, there were also a lot of big names from the international art scene, as well as some more daring positions in the “Currents” section.
This very diverse offer attracted over 24.000 visitors (2.000 more than in the previous edition), including visitors from the local area, but also from more distant parts of the US, Canada and Carribean.
AES+F at Gallery Juan Ruiz
At the privileged central stands, the regular exhibitors Cernuda and Léon Tovar gathered works by the Latin-American masters Botero, Matta, and Soto, as well as by the Cuban artists Wilfredo Lam, Amalia Peláez and Tomás Sánchez.
Neighbours Praxis International, Pan American Gallery and Lyla O. Reitzel completed the show of Cuban art with additional works by Roberto Fabelo, Torres Llorca, José Bedia and Kcho. This last mentioned artist had created some drawings and sculptures made of wood, rubber, and trash found on Cuban shores; these works of art were presented at the stand of the Venzuelan Juan Ruiz.
Other sculptures by Carbonell were gathered at the Beaux-arts-stand. Nina Menocal presented an individual show by the Cuban Agustín Bejarano whose entry into the States was denied, so that he had recorded a performance in advance, which was exhibited at the fair alongside his paintings.
More works by Botero, Matta, Soto and Lam were shown by galleries like ART+, Minsky, the Spanish Guaita or the Italian Santa Giustina – next to works by Chia, Kuitca or Jiménez Deredia. The heterogenous space Bellecour also presented works by Botero, in addition to a Fontana, and sculptures by Dalí and Yves Klein.
Vardy had announced before that this fair would aspire to a more diverse and international focus. And indeed, a large number of American, European, Asian and Pacific galleries – but even galleries from rather – at least for art fairs – uncommon countries such as Lebanon, Mongolia, or Australia – offered a stunningly diverse selection of international artists.
Dolby Chadwick Gallery
Next to the entrance, the galleries Jerold Melberg and Budja exhibited American postwar paintings by Warhol, Lichtenstein and Motherwell, while the space of Contessa displayed works by Alex Katz, Frank Stella and Chuck Close – along with a $1.9 million Renoir. Another eye-catcher next to the entrance, at Juan Ruiz’s stand, were 3 photomontages by the Russian collective AES+F.
Also very prominent were large format photographs by Edward Burtynsky at Flowers, and Robert Schaberl’s discs at Karpio+Facchini. New York-based Sundaram Tagore and London-based Berkeley Square Gallery showed some Indian artists, while Schoeni (Hong Kong), Tao Water (Boston) and the Koreans Miz and Athena-Paris added a few names to Asian art representation.
Georgian and Latvian artists Kako and Oleg Dzubenko were exhibited at Gertsev (Moscow). A lot of collectors showed interest in the piece “Harlequin” by this last mentioned artist – said the director – but it had already been sold in the preview.
Finally, 18 galleries occupied the more daring “Currents” section where young emerging artists were presented, such as Juana Valdés (Diaspora Vibe Gallery), Rod (Damien B. Gallery), Matthew Kurynski (Ashley Gallery) and Gary Ruddell, bearing resemblance to Neo Rauch (Dolby Chadwick Gallery). But also artists who were already often seen at Biennials could be (re)discovered in this section. Many will probably remember the famous work “Loudspeakers” by Santiago Sierra, repeating incessantly statements about the Biennial, or the video ¿Quién puede borrar las huellas? by Leon-awarded Regina Galindo. Both artists, Sierra and Galindo, were represented by the promising Prometeo Gallery di Ida Pisani that recently opened in Milan.
Almost directly from the Biennial came the Cuban artist Alexandre Arrechea, a former member of “Los Carpinteros”. This collective reached a record price of $42.000 at Sotheby’s, not long ago. So it was no surprise that the whole series “Dust” at Magnan Projects was completely sold.
Although some gallery owners went back home with empty wallets and loaded trucks, most of the galleries reported good to excellent sales – remarked the Fair organisation. The Spanish gallerist Carmen de la Guerra and the NY-based Denise Bibro who are both second-time visitors agreed that the fair is also a good opportunity to make contacts; hopefully, some of these contacts will turn into acquisitions. I hope so too... if that means that we will see each other here again next year, because – even though silicone and neon do not really correspond to my idea of paradise – I would not mind waiting for it here...
Text: Raúl Martínez Fernández